We Collaborate #4 – No Work
The power of social networks and media can now be leveraged to ‘unsource’ traditional internal customer-facing tasks. Customers help fellow customers, and customers help the brand they believe in, particularly in areas such as support services, product improvement and idea generation. Therefore, today’s connected customers and brand fans may become tomorrow’s part-time employees in an ‘Egosystem’ of collective social power. This goes well beyond basic cost cutting; it’s actually about creating new value together. 'No work' might well be hard work, but it could turn out to be the most effective growth strategy of all.
The best way to value customers is by making sure the perceived value of products and services is higher than the money they spend on them. When this is the case, the customer is more willing to go that extra mile. Enterprises might even need to consider offering incentives in exchange for the services of their customers; they could help design and QA for the continued benefit of the brand.
‘No Work’ is not a cost-cutting program; it is about making people care enough about the company that they are willing to support it above and beyond a simple one-off transaction. It is about leveraging a social ‘egosystem’ that creates value and productivity for mutual benefit. Future business models that are adaptive and that can extend enterprise operations into the burgeoning crowd economy will win and, they will win big.
Increasingly, powerful social platforms have the potential to cut out the middle man in product and service transactions. API-driven service foundations forge interconnections between people, machines and sensors. They break down the traditional barriers between enterprises and third-party suppliers, employees and customers.
Crowdsourcing is not just another brick in the wall. In the case of Lego’s Ideas platform, this has moved beyond socially-enabled brand management into a new form of product design, leveraging social power. Here, the crowd develop and vote on new potential products using a peer-to-peer Kickstarter-like approach which puts the best ideas into production and returns 1% revenue to the original creator.
People need a platform to collaborate, interact and share ideas with a brand. This new concept of ‘unsourcing’ has changed the dynamic of business models. Social brand fans just became zero-hours contract employees. This is the initial phase in a barrage of change from sharing economy models already proven successfully at startups such as Concur, Uber, ZipCar and VRBO.
Also, new ready-made highly scalable cloud crowd platforms and APIs are emerging which have the potential to remove large swathes of broker-based services. They do this by linking the social consumer directly with service providers in a new direct global platform of exchange, for example at BrightIdea, Shrebo, NearMe and ‘The Sharing Engine’.
So how do we embrace the benefits of ‘No work’ in the 2015 organization?
1) Pilot crowd-based B2C processes...
Typical organizational functions that could be extended into the crowd include customer service, marketing and even sales (remember, the best sales people might turn out to be programmers).
Provide the community with the tools and platforms they need to do ‘their’ work effectively.
2) … then consider co-creation…
Consider adopting a sharing platform as part of the product or service ideation cycle. Again, tools and platforms may turn out to be pivotal as the catalyst for valuable ideation. Consider gamification as a way to engage and communicate effectively with the brand community.
3) … and always feed the egosystem
Individual’s data is now in their control, not in that of the enterprise. When this Egosystem transition is embraced corporately, individuals will gladly collaborate with the brand for mutual value at pace. Make sure the requirements for a true meritocracy are being met.
After all, it’s all about them but, in enterprise-terms it will take time to adapt to the increasing power of the crowd to deliver effective cost optimization, customer intimacy and growth.
Yes, No Work means Hard Work. But what a rewarding journey this should be!
We Collaborate #4 – No Work